Quality Questions: Inside One Group’s Efforts to Make a Change

Original article: http://www.usglassmag.com/

by Penny Stacey

At the recent Auto Glass Week™ event in Memphis, Tenn., National Windshield Repair Association (NWRA) president Kerry Wanstrath presented some information the association has found in recent months in the area of repair quality. The NWRA has conducted a good deal of research about this issue and Wanstrath took the time to share additional information with AGRR™ magazine about what the association is doing to focus on this alleged problem.

AGRR: The NWRA has been very focused on quality of late—what brought this to its attention?
Kerry Wanstrath (KW): A very experienced technician noticed that customers were telling him often that the breaks he was repairing had already been repaired. The technician couldn’t believe what he was seeing, but upon close inspection he noticed that in fact some repair resin was in fact visible. The repair quality was so poor he began to document his findings. He recruited other technicians in other states to do the same and the NWRA began to create a database of this information.

AGRR: How long do you think repair quality’s been an issue? 
KW: Well, there is no way of knowing for sure how long this level of incompetence has existed, but I can tell you it was still being practiced some six months after our study started. My instincts say bad repairs have always existed; it is just that some feel these are acceptable.

AGRR: Can you tell me a little bit about the study conducted? 
KW: The study was brought about by a level of repair quality that was so bad the technicians thought no repair had been done. The data is still being collected and we see no reason not to continue to do so.

AGRR: I understand you’ve located quite a few windshields that were re-repaired—how did you go about this?
KW: Technicians who work in smaller cities or towns did not want to give customers a bad impression of windshield repair, so initially they re-repaired the previously poor repairs for free. It takes a very experienced technician to do a re-repair, but the simple fact that it can be done to the customer’s satisfaction says there was no excuse for the poor quality repair. Many of these repairs were straightforward, simple repairs. It appears to speak more about the attitude of the company doing the initial repair, don’t you think?

AGRR: Do you think the problem lies with technicians or equipment?
KW: That is a very complex question and very sensitive, but I’ll say this, if the equipment doesn’t allow for a technician to perform a repair to the industry-developed ROLAGS™ Standard, then the equipment could play a part. There are several key parts of ROLAGS that play a part in performing quality repairs. If technicians are unable to utilize these necessary techniques, quality could suffer. Additionally, untrained technicians can be challenged to produce the best repairs.

AGRR: How widespread do you think the alleged problem is? 
KW: We don’t think it is confined to the states we surveyed.

AGRR: What do you think is needed to fix this?
KW: Verification of repair quality, education, testing and certification is needed by an organization that has repair quality and the consumers’ best interest in mind.

AGRR: What are NWRA’s further plans in this area? 
KW: Just that, verification of repair quality, education, testing and certification. We hope to have our program in place on the NWRA website [in the coming months].

AGRR: What would you recommend technicians do on a local basis to help with this effort?
KW: Start documenting the poor repairs in your area; get the consumer’s name, license plate number and the name of the company that did the repair if possible. If they’d like they can forward the info to the NWRA and we can add it to our database.

“My instincts say bad repairs have always existed; it is just that some feel these are acceptable.”
—Kerry Wanstrath, NWRA